Winning is fun when you are also able to lose.
It doesnt have to be a huge loss, you just need to be reminded that you dont automatically win and secure everything forever. This applies to many games, esspecially games like diablo takes this approach one step further. Sanctuary is a place that evil is always come back, and you are never truly victorious.
I mostly play city planner and RPG games, so i will give my couple of examples mostly from those games.
Currently, i am playing "They are billions" which has a similiar atmosphere to diablo. World is ruined and you clear the zombie infested areas to expand your empire. Its not peacefull you are constantly under pressure to fight threats even if its a city builder game. One single zombie slipping through can destroy your entire city making you restart your game. This game also has another feature: no saving. At first i was mad at this, but i get it now. You would always feel safe if you could save the game at any moment you like.
Another example: Frostpunk. The world is frozen. You take drastic decisions to survive while you build a new city among the snow. Your decisions always come with a downside. You may have solved the worker shortage problem but you did this because your forced children to be workers and their parents will eventually do something about it. No clean winning. You win some, you lose some.
Darkest Dungeon. In this roguelike game, you form an adventurer group of four to venture and clear the dungeons. From items to very persons themselves, many things are subjects to lose. You dont lose progress at every front but you do at some. No items consist just upgrade, it always comes with a downside trade. Like, you may have a better dodge now, but you bleed more if you get hit with bleed attack. You may even lose your characters. Your level 5 paladin who you invested so much in, may die or go crazy. So on and so forth.
I can go on forever with these kind of examples. My point is, dark games should not offer clean wins at every front, and often times it should test you, make you pay for mistakes and decisions. You should be able to lose some kind of progression. This is a thing with atmopsherically dark games.
Diablo had this before, in D1 and D2. Story and art were full of this. Also it had this in gameplay too, it tried to do this it at many fronts. It was not able to succeed at every try but it tried nontheless. Dying meant experience loss, items drop on the ground etc. Even stamina was there because of this. It tried to offer a trade. You may run, but if you run out of stamina in a bad time, you will find yourself unable to run out of danger in heat of combat. That was probably what they intended with it. Yeah it didnt worked as they expected but the intention was there: You win some, you lose some. Choices and being able to lose somethings enchances dark atmosphered games like Diablo. It fits and it has its own charm to it.
Since we ditched stamina, durability and experience loss we need some other gameplay aspects that has possiblity to lose progress. Even PvP is too much peacefull. Losing doesnt cost you anything: your items and your experience doesnt go away. As far as i know currently D4 has no punishing element or any sense of loss. Lets have some struggle, lets have somethings to lose and win back. If camps stay this way at least we should at least have something other new to get of taste this. We need somethings threatening to our progress. We need somethings to remind us that we are not always winning.
Whats your thoughts on this?
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